Mt. Bethel statement regarding Bishop’s move to seize assets

Mt Bethel United Methodist Church.

Statement by Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church
Regarding North Georgia Conference UMC Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson’s Move to Close Mt. Bethel UMC’s Doors
 and Seize its Assets 
July 13, 2021

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church continues to escalate a crisis of her own making at Cobb County’s Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church. Originally claiming she wanted to move Rev. Dr. Jody Ray, the church’s senior pastor, to a conference position dealing with racial reconciliation, she has since changed her story at least twice, in long, rambling, and defensive videos posted to the North Georgia Conference website.

Last night, Haupert-Johnson claimed, “exigent circumstances” exist at Mt. Bethel that threaten its vitality and mission, and therefore, she has moved to close the church and “transfer” all its assets to the conference “effective immediately.” 

Unfortunately, it is Haupert-Johnson’s failure to competently engage in the United Methodist Church’s prescribed consultative process that threatens the vitality and mission of the North Georgia Conference’s largest congregation, both in terms of membership and average worship attendance.

Instead of following the course of action nearly all United Methodist bishops take regarding pastoral changes at large churches, Haupert-Johnson hastily initiated an ill-timed and an ill-considered move that not only jeopardizes great ministry and missions at Mt. Bethel but also the health and reputation of her entire annual conference.

She has failed to resolve quietly and amicably a crisis of her own making. Instead, she is now engaging attorneys to go to civil court to seize assets that the faithful people at Mt. Bethel have freely and joyfully given for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed: assets which will become property of Mt. Bethel once it completes a process for disaffiliating from the United Methodist Church, initiated in April 2021. The Bishop is purposely delaying that process.

While she claims she is acting out of “love for the church and its mission,” enlisting attorneys and the courts to seize assets is a strange way for a bishop to show her love for one of the healthiest churches in her conference. 

The people of Mt. Bethel Church will do all in their power to resist the aggressive actions against their church, and they will do all they can to restore the reputational damage Haupert-Johnson is inflicting on many local United Methodist churches that simply want to do ministry without the drama of her intrusive and threatening actions.

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Comments

  1. Reynolds says

    Liberals are out for money. This war will continue until the get everything. The traditionalist are playing nice and going to get run out.

    • wil meiklejohn says

      Perhaps it might be prudent to set aside all of the idolatry-laden references to money and worldly “things” and consider exploring other possibilities? E.g, in the Wesleyan Covenant Association newletter article: “An Episcopal Fiasco in North Georgia” By Walter Fenton July 16, 2021 we find a rather eye-opening revelation.
      “Haupert-Johnson moved on to another reason why Ray needed to be moved: over the past few years he and the church’s leadership had turned into a close-minded cabal unwilling to hear the concerns of any members who disagreed with them. According to the bishop, “I was getting a lot of correspondence from Mt. Bethel people, loyal people, who were being forced out, who didn’t have a voice anymore, and were saying that Ray and the leadership would not brook any challenge to their authority.”
      Was the possibility of the church becoming a cult and worshipping the pastor raising issues?

      • Has the Bishop shown any if this information to the entire governing body? Did she try to engage with those members and other members via a meeting to have a open and honest discussion? Were any meetings with board members at the church held? The congregation are the people funding the church and its missions. Are not these the people who should have s voice in how things are done in their church? Voices should be heard from all members who choose to voice their opinions and concerns, not just a few! Over 10, 000 members have the right to be heard!

  2. Robert A Combes says

    It’s starting to turn ugly. Let us hope that cool heads prevail. Will the “peace I leave with you” (John14:27) have it’s way, let’s hope so.

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